Monday, July 7, 2014

Karma of the Cord

The last time I posted a blog, I was on the cusp of my first speech in a week. After a couple days of a strangely-pitched, weak voice, I started sounding more like my old self—my pre-hemorrhage/mass self, that is. Since that time, I have been working with vocal therapists at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music in order to train my vocal cords back to their old singin' and teachin' ways. I'm making great progress, and even sang a little with Ed's guitar playing.

Now that I'm on the other side of the vocal cord hemorrhage mountain, I've been able to reflect on the situation with a new perspective. My thoughts can be summarized easily with one sentence.

I deserved it.

Singer Jo
July 2010
There was a time when most people who knew me in my hometown, knew me because I could sing. That has changed, of course, with the evolution of my teaching career, which has a side benefit of knowing most families in Bedford. However, it's still common knowledge that JoAnna (Hackney) Cobb sings.

Additionally, there are several places outside of Bedford where I'm known solely for my vocal performances. From 2007 to 2011, three to four weekends a month, I visited country music venues to perform as a guest artist with house bands at jamborees in southern Indiana and Kentucky. In 2010, I released a cover album that I sold at those venues. I had lots of great times with lots of great friends.

...until 2012, when I decided I was over it.

Ungrateful Jo
I didn't want to sing anymore. I was tired of it. Tired of the driving, tired of the hair and makeup, tired of rehearsing, tired of performing, and most of all, tired of singing being a job. (Understand that I was in no way tired of time spent with Mom or with dear friends at those venues. I missed and miss those people dearly.) I quit cold turkey. I stopped scheduling regional gigs and performed only with Ed on our porch or at local events, but never with my old fervor.

However, I didn't stop there. I began to publicly renounce my singing talent. At first, I was discreet about it; I just dropped it from my list of hobbies on every "about me" bio I could edit. Then, I started comparing running and singing, claiming I would forever "choose" running over singing. I even told people I was no longer a singer. "I run instead now." Privately, I wished that I had never been given a vocal talent.

Uncertain Jo
In the fall of 2013, I was offered an opportunity that was hard to refuse: play the vocally-demanding role of The Narrator in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at Little Theatre of Bedford. I decided to go for it, mostly because Joseph is a favorite show and many involved were close friends. Throughout rehearsals, I became acquainted with my voice again. In fact, we were almost friendly. Then, as the show was closing in March 2014, I got my wish.

I physically couldn't sing anymore.

Appreciative Jo
Of course, the rest of the story can be read in my previous blogs (starting here). From my current perspective, I view the whole situation as similar to George Bailey's plight in It's A Wonderful Life, on a much smaller scale, of course. However, the story line is the same: guy/gal makes a rash wish, lives out said wish, learns he/she was wildly wrong.

Even though it was an awful situation, I am thankful for it. I will never again take for granted my singing talent. Honestly, the loss of my ability to sing from March through June was worse than my one week of forced post-surgical silence. I love that I can sing on the porch with Ed, or perform the Anthem at a sporting event, or join a band as a guest. I won't perform with my old frequency, but certainly, I will not renounce a talent that, until recently, I didn't know I loved so much.

I am a runner. I am a singer. And I can be both.


Because I haven't yet reported on June, now is a great time to do so. I'm pleased with my progress, especially since I had surgery in the middle of the month (June 11). Here are the stats:

Miles Run: 125.46
Runs: 18
Hours Run: 20.40
Average Run Distance: 6.97 mi.
Average Run Pace: 9:53.15
Average Run Duration: 1:08:54.25
Average Temperature: 67.4°F
Longest Run: 15.04 mi., June 21
Shortest Run: 2.07, June 5 (1, 2, 3)
Favorite Run: June 14, 6.36 mi.
Total Lifetime Mileage: 3,447.91

(As of today, total lifetime mileage is 3,480.25, and total annual mileage is 527.51.)


  1. Well, from one who cannot sing at all, I'm glad your back and someday maybe I'll hear what I hear to be a gorgeous singing voice.

    1. Thank you, Michele. I'm grateful to be back, and I'm grateful for the modern medicine that was able to fix me quickly. Thanks again! I enjoy following your running!